54 pages 1 hour read

John Updike


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1961

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Literary Devices


A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. This expresses key ideas in a subtle yet effective manner.

Sammy utilizes metaphor whenever he refers to the customers as “sheep” and “pigs.” This device also extends to the physical descriptions of Queenie and her friends; toward the end of the story, Sammy refers to Queenie’s breasts as “scoops” of ice cream. The supermarket is also a metaphor for society, wherein different classes converge, consumerism abounds, and roles are adhered to. This enriches the story’s anti-establishment tone.


Juxtaposition places two elements close together or side by side to show similarities and differences. This device is useful in fiction as it allows the author to further emphasize the disconnect between two key ideas.

A major juxtaposition in “A&P” occurs when Sammy considers the difference between seeing a girl wearing a bathing suit on a beach versus in a supermarket. The two thoughts are closely connected but evoke entirely different scenarios with entirely different consequences.